Ralph Walter PONTING [1900-????] | Gwulo: Old Hong Kong

Ralph Walter PONTING [1900-????]

Ralph Walter

Details from John Black's list, which gives Ponting's occupation as "Missionary".


Hello: His full name was Ralph Walter Ponting born 31st May 1900. He was a Missionary with the Salvation Army. He was interned at Stanley Camp with his wife Annie Hamilton and they were billeted in Block 15 Room 21 (Indian Quarters). They shared with Bruce Puckle who was Head of ARP and who took over from Steele-Perkins (who was caught up in the Mimi Lau scandal). An interesting story that I believe relates to this Mr Ponting is as follows:

"After waiting without result for guards to arrive for the Star Ferries to prevent crews deserting Inspector Whant (Water Police) Sgt A216 Wheeler and Mr MacKenzie of the Star Ferry Co decided to proceed over to Kowloon to reconnoiter. Five European civilians insisted on accompanying them over to Kowloon, two were women Mrs Hollands and Mrs Sando in ANS uniform and in spite of Inspector Whant’s protest refused to leave the ferry. Approaching Kowloon Docks about 50 Indians and a few British troops were observed firing with machine guns under Lt Forsythe. These were taken onboard and the launch left using the machine guns to cover the withdrawal. In spite of the European ladies being made to lie flat on the deck Mrs Hollands received a bullet wound in the abdomen. Mr Ponting was superficially wounded in the head. On arriving in HK ....orders were given by Defence Secretary and Harbour Master that no further trips were to be made over to Kowloon without special instructions". (Police War Diary Friday 12th Dec 1941 10:30am).

Best regards,

Philip Cracknell

Thanks Philip, I've added in your extra information.

I also heard from Henry Ching:

I am most grateful to Philip Cracknell for posting the extract from the Police War Diary 12/12/41.  The circumstances of Mrs Hollands’ death are puzzling, but I think I now understand why several commentators have referred to the incident as taking place on the last ferry to leave Kowloon. It seems indeed to have been a ferry, as the extract records that the civilians “in spite of Inspector Whant’s protest refused to leave the ferry”.  However, “The Royal Hong Kong Police (1841-1945)” written by Criswell and Watson refer to it as a Police launch proceeding to Kowloon to reconnoitre.  What is not explained is why the five civilians, including R.W.Ponting and two Auxiliary nurses of whom one was Mrs Hollands,  wanted to get to Kowloon at a time when everyone else was trying to evacuate from Kowloon – presumably for private reasons. 

Regards, David